Author: David Lagercrantz

Title: "The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye"

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017, 347 pp. of text

David Lagercrantz in his second novel in the Millennium Series, “The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye,” continues the stories of the colorful characters created by the late Stieg Larsson, his fellow Swedish author.

Though Larsson died too young at age 50 in 2004, the characters he created flawlessly move on under the capable hands of Lagercrantz. The central and most intriguing character, Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed, pierced, tough and talented computer hacker, shares center stage with journalist Mikael Bloomquist. Salander and Bloomquist, with the other interesting characters, grabbed me and pulled me along as I turned the pages through one clever plot after another.

I couldn’t wait for the next book as I read/devoured Larsson’s three books —  “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.” Having read Lagercrantz’ first book in the Millennium Series, “The Girl In The Spider’s Nest,” I was delighted to find this book, which is an equally great read.

Though I prefer to read history and biography, I couldn’t put these books down, and “The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye,” is as good as the first four books. Salander is such an interesting character, and, in this fifth book, you get closer to understanding the significance of the dragon tattoo on her back. At page 68, Lagercrantz writes of Holger Palmgern, her former guardian and her closest friend. “He asked her about her tattoo. He had always wondered about it, and indeed he belonged to a generation that had no understanding of tattooing as an art form. Why embellish yourself with something that never goes away, when we constantly change and evolve?” I’m of that same generation with no understanding of tattooing as an art form.

In this book, a secret Swedish agency has separated identical twins at birth and deliberately placed them in dramatically different homes to annually assess the attributes of genetics versus environment. The plot also involves an immigrant family from Bangladesh and an honor killing as well as a bad motorcycle gang. Salander has several chances to display her warrior-like strength as well as her incredible computer hacking skills while working in her spare time in prison on quantum mechanical calculations.

Bloomquist digs out a story on a set of identical adult twins, one with money and one without, which the instigators of the secret program do not want to see published. All of this being disclosed in one “cliff hanging” moment after another. I loved it!

Though Larsson died leaving us wanting more, Lagercrantz has proven to have been an exceptional choice to continue the rich and inventive stories involving Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." I am still waiting for the Swedish movie with English subtitles of “The Girl In The Spider’s Nest,” but it does not appear to have been made. A U.S. version is scheduled to be released in 2018 before a film is made of it in Sweden. The U.S. version has not yet been cast and is not in production, but I can’t wait to see it.

Bob Wefald is a retired North Dakota State District Court judge. Wefald became a lawyer in 1970. His career includes serving a year as a law clerk, four years as attorney general, more than 23 years in private practice in Bismarck and 12 years as a judge. He served as an officer in the Navy for three years of active duty plus 24 years in the Navy Reserve.